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Mar 22, 2024 11:37 pm

Out to halt recent drought, LAFC take on Nashville SC

Sam Surridge

Both LAFC and Nashville SC will be looking for a result to jumpstart their seasons when they meet on Saturday night in Southern California.

Los Angeles (1-2-1, 4 points) has gone three games without scoring after opening the season with a 2-1 home win over the Seattle Sounders.

Reigning MLS Golden Boot winner Denis Bouanga has yet to score this season, and the possibility of a return by free agent Carlos Vela — LAFC’s first-ever signing and the 2019 MLS MVP — remains unclear.

Most recently, the Black-and-Gold suffered a 2-0 defeat at Minnesota United last weekend. But the analytic stats suggest LAFC has created the better chances in each of their previous two games.

That will only add to a sense of urgency on Saturday night, suggested LAFC defender Aaron Long.

“I think more than anything, we want to get on the scoresheet for sure,” Long said. “We want to get a win at home, get three points. It’s been a couple weeks since we’ve got three points. And a good performance is going to go a long way with the group.”

The early struggles are surprising for the two-time Western Conference champions given they haven’t had to balance league play with continental competition this year.

That’s a task Nashville (1-0-3, 6 points) has combatted through the first four weeks of its campaign. But after falling to Inter Miami in their round-of-16 CONCACAF Champions Cup series, the Coyotes responded with a 2-1 victory over Charlotte FC last weekend and will face LAFC on a full week’s rest.

Sam Surridge and Alex Muyl each scored their first goals of the season before halftime against Charlotte. And manager Gary Smith was particularly impressed by the efforts of central midfielders Dru Yearwood and Brian Anunga.

That duo will likely start again on Saturday as Anibal Godoy continues his play for Panama in the CONCACAF Nations League.

“In general terms, I thought the performance was a very high-caliber one,” Smith said. “There was a bundle of energy through that midfield. I thought the two center midfield players did a great job of really covering an awful lot of areas. Pressure on the ball, very decent in possession, there was a real intensity about those two midfield players.”

–Field Level Media

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